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Afrique sur Seine + Little by Little (15*) + introduction by Dr Barbara Knorpp

Returning the Colonial Gaze

A still from Little by Little

In the films in this double-bill black Africans, not white Europeans, are the explorers and the country being 'discovered' is France.

After decades of French filmmakers making films about African nations depicting Africans as the exotic 'other’. here are two films in which the perspective is reversed. Black Africans lead us on a tour of Paris and investigate the bizarre customs of that strange local tribe, Parisians.

Credited as the first film made by Senegalese filmmakers, Afrique sur Seine adopts the style of contemporary ethnographic documentaries. Little by Little is a trickier proposition: a comedy, a documentary-fiction hybrid, and the work of a white French filmmaker, Jean Rouch, in collaboration with his two Nigerien stars, Damouré Zika and Lam Ibrahim.

Rouch is celebrated as a revolutionary force in the field of ethnographic film, but some have argued that even the ‘shared anthropology’ he innovated cannot be extricated from colonialist assumptions and practices. We welcome Dr Barbara Knorpp to introduce the film and his legacy.

France 1955 Dir Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, Mamadou Sarr 21 min Digital presentation

France 1970 Dir Jean Rouch 96 min Digital presentation

Barbara Knorpp is an anthropologist with a special interest in film history. Her work is situated in the interdisciplinary arena between anthropology, cinema, media studies, and fine art. Before her PhD she worked in an international photo press agency, collaborated with artists, and worked in documentary and fiction film in Germany, Japan, and Australia. She was a Teaching Fellow in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies at University College London (UCL) and is now a tutor at Open City Docs and teaches on a master course in Visual Anthropology, Media and Documnetary Practices at the University of Münster, Germany.  In 2017 she published a book on African Film Cultures: Context of Creation and Circulation (Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2017) in collaboration with Winston Mano and Añulika Agina.  She is also member of the film committee for the bi-annual RAI Ethnographic Film Festival in Bristol.  Being an Associate of Brunel University she works with the British Film Institute and the Royal Anthropological Institute on collaborative projects.


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